Sunday, March 15, 2009

Off-season moves...I smell Super Bowl!

With an amazing 11-5 record last season despite the loss of the best QB on the planet, somehow the stars aligned to make sure the Pats could not spoil the party in this year's playoffs. Going into the offseason, there were obviously things to be excited about, however...the likely trade of a sixth round draft pick for a certain first rounder, the already large stockpile of draft picks in the second round from sly draft day moves by Scott Pioli, and, of course, the return of Tommy Terrific, this time with an arm not ground to a nub by a late season push in the playoffs. So let's look at what has happened so far, and Sully the Diehard Pat Fan's response to them.

1. The Departure of McDaniels and Pioli (not in order of significance)- The Pats said goodbye to short tenured Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniel, as he took the head coaching job at Denver. That is a pretty good accomplishment for Josh, especially for a guy who looks like he has less facial hair than my two year old. He's already let his lack of head coaching savvy come out in the indelicate handling of the Cutler trade situation, and has already bragged about how he is going to fix the second highest offensive machine in the league next year. Apparently this is going to happen due to the signing of Jabbar "Jekyll and Hyde Hands" Gaffney, as he is the only piece that Josh has added this season. Bottom line here is that it will be good not to have to worry about the Broncos for a few years. Now for Pioli...As much as I'd like to say that the departure of Pioli is nil, because Belichick holds the reins in Patland, I get the feeling that that is not necessarily true, as is evidenced by the next topic.

2. The Tag, and Subsequent Fleecing of the Pats by Scott Pioli. No sooner had the ink dried on Pioli's GM contract, than he was pulling his Jedi mind tricks on the Pats by scaring/sweetalking Belichick and gang into parting with the backup heart and soul of the defense (Vrabel) and the aforementioned almost certain first round trade bait in the form of Matt Cassel. With McDaniel pissing off Cutler by shopping him in favor of working a first round pick deal to land Cassel in Denver, it should have been obvious that value still existed for Cassel, and maybe they should hold their cards to their vest and see what unfolded. Instead we got a top of the round second choice. Can I understand it? Sure...Bill would much rather have multiple second and third rounders anyway instead of paying big money to first rounders who are no guarantee...but Bill, you can always trade that first rounder away and get a second, third and more in some cases...the first part was almost certainly what the voice of Pioli sounded like in Bill's ear prior to the trade, and the second part is what Pioli would have told Bill if he was still on the job. Definitely got the raw end on that deal...

3. Free Agent signings: One thing Bill has not lost is his ability to identify and jump on player situations that will be ideal fits for the already mature Pat's roster...guys who have never tasted a ring, may have had a stock drop due to negative press or a nagging minor injury ridden season the season before, or guys who some feel are in the twilight of their careers...the list of successful pickups is endless: Roman Phifer, Bryan Cox, Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Sammy Morris..and this year's crop is no different...let's look at them one by one:

Fred Taylor: this guy was always one of my favorite hard nosed runners in the NFL. He had and still has an engine that never quits. But the nagging injuries every year have lowered his stock, especially once he was sharing time with Pocket Hercules. I see Corey Dillon type year all over this thing, especially if Maroney falters out of the gate again.

Greg Lewis: One of the only guys who had really good hands for the Eagles, and in the fashion of the Eagles, they just let him walk. He's not Welker, but he is as good if not better than Kelly Washington who split this offseason.

Shawn Springs: As much as I'd like to say this guy will be a huge impact, I think he will not beat out Bodden for the job...but I don't see any scenario better than to have this guy playing nickel and spelling the top two guys, while sharing his veteran techniques with youngsters Wilhite and Wheatley.

Leigh Bodden: This may be the best signing of the decade if it works out like I think it will...guy has amazing success in Cleveland with the Padouin learner of Belichick's system, Crennel, and then jets for Detroit, which is a career killer for just about anyone. I don't care how good you are, when your offense just went three and out for the sixth consecutive series, you are going to get toasted by my grandmother on the deep fly. With the toolbox of tooth rattlers and menacing pass rush the Patriots will have this season, Leigh Bodden will fit in REAL nicely as the backside CB. Let's just say this is no Lewis Sanders signing...Nuff said

Joey Galloway: To me, this is the piece d'resistance. Galloway has three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, 23 TD's, and has one nagging injury which limits him last season, and now he is damaged goods? Please...with Moss and Welker swallowing up double teams, Joey is going to establish early and often that he still has it...this guy at this stage in his career makes Gaffney look like a South African tree slug. I wouldn't bet the under too many times this season with the Pats....

4. The Draft. The Pats have picks 23, 34, 47, 58..that's four in the first two rounds. Let's take a look at who the Pats have got in rounds one and two in the last five years:
2008: Jerod Mayo, Terrence Wheatley
2007: Brandon Merriweather
2006: Laurence Maroney, Chad Jackson
2005: Logan Mankins
2004: Vince Wilfork, Ben Watson, Marquis Hill

Ok, so that is Six starters, One bust, one jury still out and one dead. Nine players. And we have Five picks in those two rounds this year...think we will fill a few holes there? Ridonkulous.

So that is my summary...I will be back on if there are any new signings of interest, or after the draft, whichever comes first...latah chowdaheads